Van Buuren Museum and Gardens
Built in 1928, the house of banker and arts patron David van Buuren has an exterior typical of the Amsterdam School.
The interior, a tour de force of Art Deco, represents a unique ensemble brought together by renowned decorators from Belgium, France and the Netherlands. The rare furniture, carpets, stained glass, sculpture and paintings by Belgian and international masters from the 16th to the 20th century have remained in their original places, giving this museum the intimate character of a private home.
The gardens are a masterpiece of landscaping in themselves. At the end of the 1920s, Jules Buyssens conceived the Regular Garden, the Picturesque Garden and the Large Rose Garden in the spirit of Art Deco. In the 1960s, René Pechère created the Labyrinth and the Heart Garden. Thanks to Alice van Buuren, this park is a splendid a place to stroll, reflect and dream.
Van Buuren Museum and Gardens
Jardin - Plantentuin Jean Massart
Named after its founder, the Jean Massart Botanical Garden was created in 1922 by this great defender of nature and professor of botany at the ULB (Free University of Brussels). It's located in Auderghem, a stone's throw from Rouge-Cloître, the Sonian Forest and the Seny, Ten Reuken and Bergoje parks.
This botanical garden was designed by landscape architect Jules Buyssens. With some 2,000 plant species, it's one of the richest botanical gardens in Belgium and a real living museum. Admire the thousands of native and exotic plants that the gardeners, researchers and students take care of every day. The garden is an open-air laboratory for studying how plants can make cities healthier and more sustainable. It's also a museum of ULB and is part of the science trail, together with the Museum of Zoology.
Jardin - Plantentuin Jean Massart
Rouge Cloître Abbey
A renowned abbey until the end of the 19th century, Rouge-Cloître is a place for walks, activities and exploring its heritage. It was one of the largest priories of Augustinian canons in Brabant from the 14th to the 18th centuries and a veritable paradise for artists, whom it still welcomes today.
Its name is said to come from the red colour of the mortar that covered its walls or from its construction on a cleared part of the Sonian Forest. The roo de Roodclooster referring to the Dutch word rooien which means to dig up or pull out.
Rouge-Cloître Abbey is home to artistic and cultural centres offering guided walks, exhibitions, shows, a demonstration of horse shoeing... Watch lace makers, glass blowers or fabric toy makers at work.
You can also admire the priory, the miller's house and the gatehouse. Take a break at the tavern Le Relais Forestier to enjoy local, organic and fair-trade dishes, but also to take part in cooking workshops and the picking of wild plants, flowers and heirloom vegetables.
Rouge Cloître Abbey
Georges Henri Park
Named after the avenue that runs alongside it, Georges Henri Park was once the Jewish cemetery of Etterbeek, from the end of the 19th to the end of the 20th century. You can still see some traces of this history: two obelisks, a Jewish memorial and a sculpture of a woman and her child, in homage to the women and children who disappeared in the German camps during the Second World War. Next to the sculpture, engraved on a lectern, you'll find a poem by Marguerite Bergers, who was beheaded in Wolfenbuttel in 1944. You can also admire Lucia Bru's sculpture of a boat made of wood, steel and metal. This piece won the Brussels-Capital Region's inaugural sculpture competition.
As you enter the park, you come across a large round fountain with a powerful jet of water flowing from it. Take a walk through the scented garden, stroll through the classical gardens or visit the garden of remembrance and its Jewish memorial.
Georges Henri Park
The Bois de la Cambre
The Bois de la Cambre, one of the largest parks in the Brussels-Capital Region, owes its name to La Cambre Abbey. It's laid out in an English style and resembles a forest, with walks, pony rides, jogging and playgrounds.
Nestled in the heart of the Bois de la Cambre, Chalet Robinson welcomes you in its restaurant and offers boats and pedalos or a game of pétanque. Located on Robinson Island, the origin of the name is unknown but, according to legend, a group of walkers who were lost in the Bois de la Cambre saw a captain appear on the water in his boat, and he took them to this green island. The Le Flore bar offers tapas made with fresh seasonal produce, while the Woodpecker is ideal for a snack. The nearby Villa Lorraine, Villa in the Sky and Villa Emily are fine, gourmet restaurants. Looking to go out in a club? Head to Les Jeux d'Hiver, one of the most famous in Brussels.
Just a short distance away is the Villa Empain, an Art Deco jewel which today houses the Centre for Art and Dialogue between Eastern and Western Cultures. DROHME Park leisure park at the former Boitsfort hippodrome lies on the southernmost edge of the Bois de la Cambre.
The Bois de la Cambre
Situated along a wide avenue that straddles Koekelberg and Ganshoren, Elisabeth Park opens up one of the longest and most beautiful vistas in the Brussels-Capital Region. It stretches from the National Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Koekelberg to the Botanique. Take a walk through the park along the winding paths and alleys that form the 'L' of Leopold, in reference to King Leopold II.
Visit the Basilica, a building commissioned by King Leopold II, which was started in the early 20th century and completed some 50 years later! Inspired by the neo-Byzantine style, this Art Deco masterpiece of reinforced concrete and brick is one of the largest churches in the world!
Just a stone's throw away, the Belgian Chocolate Village - with its chocolate workshops - lets you discover the history and secrets of the chocolate-making process. You can also visit chocolate roaster Frederic Blondeel: watch him at work in his open workshop and treat yourself in his bar and shop.
Built in 1880 to mark the 50th anniversary of Belgium's independence, Cinquantenaire Park is both a collection of French-style gardens and a historical site that's home to monuments, sculptures and museums. It's dominated by a triumphal arch with three arches and a bronze quadriga at its summit, which offers a stunning panoramic view of the capital. The wide paths lead to the Pavilion of Human Passions designed by Victor Horta, the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History, the Art & History Museum and Autoworld, the car museum.
Take part in events here throughout the year: sporting events, festivals, concerts, fireworks... In the summer, you can enjoy a short break at the Guinguette Maurice pop-up bar.
Jean-Felix Hap Park
Jean-Félix Hap Park is probably the most beautiful park in Etterbeek, with its majestic trees, large lawns and winding paths. It bears the name of the last owner of this family estate, which was passed down from generation to generation.
Go for a walk around the Orangery, discover the ruins of the Flemish Renaissance castle and admire the neo-classical house of François-Louis Hap. The park also has an educational ecological area, which promotes biodiversity.
Not far from the park lies Cauchie House, a must-visit Art Nouveau gem. Just a stone's throw away, head to Leopold Park or Cinquantenaire Park, where you can go for a stroll or visit Autoworld, the Art & History Museum or the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History.
For a sweet treat, head to Le Pain Quotidien.
Jean-Felix Hap Park
Josaphat Park is Schaerbeek's green lung and a favourite among the inhabitants of Brussels. According to legend, in the 16th century, a Brussels resident returning from the Holy Land was struck by the park's resemblance to the Valley of Jehoshaphat near Jerusalem, which gave the Park its biblical name.
Many activities are organised here: concerts, nature walks, discovery tours, etc. During your walk, admire busts of writers and artists and sculptures inspired by mythology or fairy tales. Discover the Love Fountain or the Trinkhall pavilion, a former castle and hotel-café-restaurant.
A stone’s throw from the park you’ll find Autrique House, the former private residence of Eugène Autrique, which was built in the Art Nouveau style by Victor Horta in the 19th century and is now a museum.
For a sweet break, head to Boentje Café, a zero-waste coffee house that prepares homemade dishes and desserts using local and seasonal products. Close by is Bar de la Mule, where you can enjoy typical German and organic beers made by Brasserie de la Mule.
Brussels Park, known for many years previously as the Royal Park, is the oldest park in the region which became a public park. Built on the ruins of the park of the Dukes of Burgundy and the Governors of the Spanish Netherlands, it stands proudly between the Federal Parliament and the Royal Palace, symbols of power and the monarchy. This spot, was once the site of fierce battles for the people of Brussels during the revolution in 1830.
Designed in a neo-classical style by architect Guimard and gardener Zinner, it opens onto the large pond and then offers you wide alleys, symmetrical alignments and stunning views. You'll find statues of Greco-Roman mythology, the Vauxhall, a bandstand, the Théâtre Royal du Parc, the Guinguette Royale and even Kiosk Radio, a bar where you can dance beneath the trees!
At the foot of the Atomium lies Osseghem Park. Created by landscape architect Jules Buyssens in the picturesque English style, it offers you beautiful views of the wooded surroundings and its vast lawns. Enjoy the peace and quiet of this green space and stroll along its wide paths and winding lanes. Take a walk around the pond and, from the Adolphe Max memorial, follow its avenue of purple beech trees.
Pass through the green theatre, a hemicycle with gravelled terraces and low stone walls decorated with golden privet hedges. With its excellent acoustics, it hosts festivals and can accommodate up to 3000 people.
Visit the neighbouring green spaces: Laeken Park and the Jean Sobieski, Colonial and Florist’s Gardens.
You can also visit the Atomium, Mini-Europe, the Planetarium and the Design Museum Brussels. Not far from the park, admire the Japanese tower and the Museums of the Far East.
The Ambiorix, Marie-Louise and Marguerite squares
The Ambiorix, Marie-Louise and Marguerite squares are located in the former valley of the Maelbeek river, near the European Quarter. They are located in the so-called "squares" district, which is architecturally rich thanks to its neo-renaissance, neo-gothic and Art Nouveau houses, which intermingle with the eclecticism. Water is the primary element of this cascade of parks and is integrated into each of them, reconstituting the old course of the Maelbeek.
Square Ambiorix is laid out in French terraces with geometric spaces, straight paths, flowerbeds, fountains, sculptures…
Square Marie-Louise is dominated by a pond, which is home to Florida tortoises. Its rock garden containing a fountain, a false grotto overgrown with vegetation and waterfalls and its English gardens give it a picturesque and romantic feel.
As for Square Marguerite, this "agora space" has a playground and a pergola and welcomes young people and athletes looking to let off steam.
Along the squares, admire the Hotel van Eetvelde and Saint-Cyr House, true masterpieces of Art Nouveau. Take a walk in Brussels Park, Leopold Park or Cinquantenaire Park and visit their museums and the Charlier Museum in nearby Saint-Josse-ten-Noode.
The Ambiorix, Marie-Louise and Marguerite squares
Created in 1911 as Anderlecht Park, Astrid Park has paid tribute to Queen Astrid by bearing her name since 1935, the year of her death. This green space was designed in 1926 by landscape architect Jules Buyssens.
The hilly terrain offers breathtaking views of the park's various areas. It's home to the Queen Fabiola Pavilion, the Aubette des Pêcheurs and Anderlecht football club (RSCA).
Visit Erasmus House and the Beguinage near Astrid Park. The former is one of Brussels' oldest Gothic houses, where the humanist Erasmus lived in the 16th century. Discover Gothic and Renaissance furniture and the intellectual world of that period. The Beguinage presents the history of Anderlecht and the former life of the beguines. Admire the collegiate church of Saints-Peter-and-Guy from its garden.
For a gourmet break, head to Friture René and the C'est si bon bakery.
Duden Park, the green lung of Forest, keeps the woodland history of this commune alive. In the Middle Ages, it was part of the Heegde woods, which belonged to the Benedictine abbey of Forest. In the 19th century, Guillaume Duden, a wealthy lace merchant, became the owner of the site. He built a neoclassical house and other infrastructure, such as bridges and staircases, which added a picturesque touch to the park.
Château Duden is now home to INRACI-NARAFI (the former Institute of Radio-electricity and Cinematography). The entrance is protected by a glass canopy in the form of a baldachin, and the rear is decorated with two towers. Discover the stables, which have the appearance of a small castle with their stair tower and dormer windows topped with bell towers; and pass by the Flemish neo-Renaissance conciergerie. In the park you’ll find a stone cross and an iron rainbow by renowned Italian sculptor Mauro Staccioli.
You can also take a walk in Forest Park, which is connected to Duden Park by Jupiter Park.
Seny Park, which was inaugurated in 1963, is located in both Auderghem and Watermael-Boitsfort and bears the name of one of its last owners. With a surface area of 3 ha, it is one of the green spaces that were developed in the valley of the little Woluwe river, which runs through the park. Take a walk through the park and discover its winding paths, its beautiful views, its geometrically shaped beds and its pond. Follow the trail of plants classified according to their scent, which is particularly enchanting for the visually impaired, and find an educational area dedicated to indigenous plant species.
Make the most of your walk in Seny Park to explore other nearby sites and green spaces: Ten Reuken Park, the Jean Massart botanical garden and the Rouge-Cloître. A little further away you'll find the rolling hills of Woluwe Park and Tournay-Solvay Park.
Forest Park, which also stretches over into neighbouring Saint Gilles, is spread over 13 hectares and criss-crossed by 18,000m² of paths and pavements. Admire its magnificent flower beds, groves and trees.
There are several shops around the park to satisfy your taste buds. My Tannour offers you a taste of Syrian-Lebanese cuisine while Fernand Obb Delicatessen lets you enjoy some of the best shrimp croquettes in the capital. For those with a sweet tooth, COCO Donuts invites you to rediscover the much-loved beignet and coffee-roaster and chocolatier, Jérôme Grimonpon, serves his marvellous chocolates and other divine chocolatey pastries. You even get the opportunity to observe him making his delicious sweet treats in his open workshop!
Last but not least, attend a concert or a show at Forest National, the famous concert hall located just around the corner from Forest Park.
This beautiful English-style park dates back to the end of the 19th century. Originally, it consisted of a castle, surrounded by a large driveway, a garden and a few shrubberies. The property was then gradually extended.
Many the trees were felled and used during the Second World War, and in 1964 the commune of Uccle acquired the park, which by then had seen its castle demolished.
Today, in addition to its pond and areas dedicated to young children and sportsmen, this hilly park is a beech forest dotted with remarkable maple, oak, hazel and chestnut trees. The park’s star is a giant sequoia, the largest in the commune and one of the 10 most beautiful in the Brussels-Capital Region.
Named after Thérèse Tournay-Solvay, daughter of Alfred Solvay and widow of Émile Tournay, this park, located in Watermael-Boitsfort, is one of the most beautiful in Brussels. There are a variety of spaces and slopes, two ponds in its valley, a natural forest on its slopes and an English garden at the top.
As for heritage, discover the ruins of Solvay castle, which was destroyed in a fire in 1982 and has now been overrun by vegetation. Built in the Flemish neo-Renaissance style, it was the property of Alfred Solvay, brother of the famous industrialist Ernest Solvay, and his family. The castle's stables are now occupied by a centre for environmental and ecological education. Admire the rose garden designed by Jules Buyssens and the sculptures, including the replica of the Olmec Head no 8, a work by Ignacio Pérez Solorzano which was discovered in the Mexican village of San Lorenzo.
Bergoje Park is a pleasant place to walk in Auderghem. With its steep, wooded slope, the Rouge-Cloître stream (Roodkloosterbeek) running below and its paths running down the hillside, this small park has retained all its character from the time when it was still connected to the Sonian Forest.
On the site of Bergoje (which comes from the Dutch "berg", meaning mountain, and "oje", meaning house), used to stand the Villa de la Bruyère, which has now been demolished and replaced by the Clos du Bergoje neighbourhood.
Close to the park lies Rouge-Cloître, a nature reserve that has been home to artists since the 15th century, including famous Belgian painter Hugo Van der Goes. This former abbey was a renowned site until the end of the 19th century, and has since become a genuine artists’ paradise.
An extension of the gardens of La Cambre Abbey, the Ixelles ponds are a pleasant place to stroll in an architecturally rich neighbourhood. It has mansions of varying styles: Art Nouveau and Art Deco, neo-classical, Flemish Renaissance and Gothic.
Continue your walk in the other green spaces close to the ponds: the gardens of La Cambre Abbey, the Bois de la Cambre and Tenbosch Park.
There's so much to see and do around the ponds, starting with the magnificent Solvay House, a former mansion that is now a museum. You can also visit the CIVA, the Meunier Museum and the Children's Museum. If you love a good game, head to Escape Hunt and Escape Rush.
For a gourmet break, you can stop at Café Belga, Monella, Racines, humus x hortense and My Tannour.
Egmont Park is an English-style public garden which, in the 16th century, together with the Egmont Palace, was the property of Princess Françoise de Luxembourg, the widow of Count Jean d'Egmont. The palace was first home to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before becoming a place for diplomatic receptions and conferences. This prestigious neo-classical building is richly furnished and decorated with tapestries, marble and a hall of mirrors…
To get to Egmont Park, take Passage Marguerite Yourcenar, where you'll be guided by quotes from one of the writer's novels, L'œuvre au Noir. Enter the Labyrinth and take the stairs leading to a rotunda, and you'll end up in the park. Admire the bronze statues and century-old trees. Round things off with a break at La Fabrique en Ville, where you can enjoy a beer brewed in Tour & Taxis and homemade desserts.
Square du Petit Sablon
Designed in a Flemish neo-renaissance style, the flower garden of square du Petit Sablon is an architectural gem right opposite the Church of Our Lady of the Sablon. In Flemish neo-renaissance style, the flower garden of square du Petit Sablon is an architectural gem right opposite the Church of Our Lady of the Sablon. In this open-air museum, the various Brussels guilds of the day are personified by 48 statues and ten others represent the great humanists of the 16th century: Mercator, Ortélius... The flora reveals yet more symbolism: nine clumps of carved boxwood representing the nine Belgian provinces of the era and a crown for the kingdom as a whole.
At the bottom of the garden stands a fountain-statue in honour of the Counts of Egmont and Hornes, resistance fighters who were beheaded in the 16th century during the tyrannical Spanish regime. Last but not least, two flights of stairs lead you to Rue aux Laines and on to Egmont Park.
Square du Petit Sablon
Leopold Park is a slice of nature in the heart of Brussels’ European Quarter. Formerly a zoological, horticultural and leisure garden in the 19th century, it became a science park, and is now an English-style garden. Wander it’s paths and admire sculptures such as the Bust of Jean-Jules Linden, or the Tree of Peace.
Numerous Belgian and European institutions are located in and around this park: Solvay Library, the Louis Pasteur Institute, the Anatomy Institute, the Physiology Institute and the former Business School… Take the opportunity to step into the European Parliament Hemicycle and visit the Parlamentarium, the House of European History, the Museum of Natural Sciences and the Wiertz Museum.
Go for a stroll in Cinquantenaire Park, another imposing space in the capital.
Woluwe Park, one of the largest parks in Brussels, is one of several green spaces along the Woluwe valley. At the request of King Leopold II, it was created for the Universal Exhibition of 1897 to link the two exhibition's two sites: one in Cinquantenaire Park and one in the Royal Estate in Tervuren, which now houses the AfricaMuseum.
Designed by French landscape architect Emile Lainé, this hilly English-style park has long winding paths. It offers a wide variety of landscapes: lawns that invite you to picnic, ponds and wet meadows with their reeds. Migratory birds frequently stop here. On the other side of the boulevard, you'll find the Mellaerts ponds with their multitude of activities and Brussels' Tram Museum.
A stone’s throw away, Bibliotheca Wittockiana - Brussels’ book arts and bookbinding museum - is a museum and library housing the collections of its founder, bibliophile Michel Wittock.